Motte and bailey castle north of Chennells Brook Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014389
Date first listed: 01-Mar-1968
Date of most recent amendment: 30-Jan-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: West Sussex
District: Horsham (District Authority)
Parish: North Horsham
National Grid Reference: TQ 18825 33259
Reasons for Designation
Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain
by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the
motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of
examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey,
adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal
administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and
bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their
immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive
monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape.
Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally,
with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of
recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for
the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although
many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to
be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they
were superseded by other types of castle.
The castle near Chennells Brook Farm survives well despite some alteration of its form by changes in the course of the Chennells Brook after the castle's abandonment. It retains considerable potential for the recovery of evidence for the nature and date of occupation of the castle both from the motte and bailey areas and from the moats. The castle remains exemplify the diversity of form of this class of monument and the adaptability of such castles to suit a range of locations in the landscape rather than just hilltops.
The monument includes the earthworks of a motte and bailey castle dating
from the Norman period. The castle features a central mound, or motte, which
has been raised up to 2.2m above the level of the surrounding land to form
an originally circular summit which would usually have been the site of a
wooden keep. Around the motte was dug a broad moat averaging 10m across, the
western and southern arms of which are occupied by the present Chennells
Brook, the eastern side surviving as a marked dry ditch.
West of the motte is the bailey area, a quadrangular courtyard 75m long by
25m-55m wide, which is again defended by an outer ditch, in this case some 7m
wide. The whole area would originally have been surrounded by water
channelled from the stream. On the south side of the bailey ditch is a
causeway which may represent the original entrance to the castle.
In addition to these earthworks, the former stream channel, which was
altered when the castle was constructed, survives on the northern, western
and southern sides. The former stream was incorporated into the castle
design by creating a marshy area for additional defence. The castle was
approached by a causeway from the dry ground to the south.
The present course of the Chennells Brook dates from after the castle's
abandonment and crosses the earthworks in several places, including the
approach causeway at the southern edge of the castle area. The motte has
also been altered to its present kidney-shaped summit as a result of erosion
by the stream.
All fences in the area of the monument are excluded from scheduling, allthough
the ground beneath is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 12885
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Braun, H, An Early Norman Castle Site In North Sussex, (1936)
County Monument No. 3632,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing